Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney – keenly aware House and Senate GOP candidates are taking campaign heat for the lack of new 2012 Farm Bill – last week took his message to Van Meter, IA, using the rural setting and his audience of about 1,200 to blame President Obama for his administration’s failure to “lead Congress” on passage of a five-year 2012 Farm Bill. In addition, the Romney campaign released a 16-page white paper that keyed on reducing taxes on farmers and ranchers, expanding access to trade, regulatory reform and North American energy independence by 2020. “The big difference between the president and me, he has no plan for rural America, no plan for agriculture, no plan for getting America back to work,” Romney said.
The Obama campaign criticized Romney for telling farmers “a series of falsehoods,” failing to mention the House Farm Bill hasn’t been acted upon because House GOP leaders have refused to give the bill floor time, and slamming his white paper for its lack of details. Several Democrat House members, including agriculture committee ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson (D, MN) – who called Romney’s remarks “unfair and it shows a complete lack of understanding of what’s going on” – acted as surrogates for the president in rebutting Romney, and National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson slammed the GOP-controlled House for failing to act on the ag committee-approved Farm Bill, and promoting a bill more in line “with the draconian principles outlined in GOP Vice Presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget.” The Romney white paper can be found at http://www.mittromney.com/blog/agricultural-prosperity-mitt-romneys-vision-vibrant-rural-america.